The Exiles
Filmfest 2004

In the mid-50s, when Kent Mackenzie discovered Bunker Hill, the low-rent residential neighborhood on the west edge of downtown Los Angeles, it was threatened with demolition. As he was making the short documentary Bunker Hill about it, he also became fascinated with a subculture of Arizona Indians living there. A few years later, he made them the subject of this semi-documentary. Mackenzie's decision to film it on 35 mm was a conscious aesthetic decision. He wasn't able to record dialogue on location, so he relied on post-synchronized dialogue and meditative voice-overs to tell his story of a long Friday night, from dusk to dawn. It is a night full of loneliness and yearning, petty betrayals and disappointments and little flashes of happiness. It ends with an attempt to revive old bonds and ceremonies on a hilltop above the city... "The Exiles" is a wrenching document of cultural dislocation and a remarkable record of a city that has vanished. Thom Andersen (the maker of "Los Angeles Plays Itself")

tags: Documentary, Feature film

With: Yvonne Williams, Homer Nish, Tom Reynolds, Rico Rodriguez, Clifford Ray Sam


Director: Kent MacKenzie